City of Boise and St. Luke's continue partnership to make life jackets more accessible
With temperatures heating up and pools open for the summer, a successful community partnership is back in action to connect Idaho families to important water safety resources.
Thanks to a $5,000 donation from St. Luke’s Health System, Boise Parks and Recreation and Boise Fire are teaming up once again to get life jackets into the hands of Idaho kids who may not otherwise have access to one.
Boise Parks and Recreation, Boise Fire and representatives from St. Luke’s held an event today at Idaho River Sports to give free life jackets to dozens of children involved in Boise Parks and Recreation Playcamps.
"We want to make sure no child goes without a life jacket due to a lack of resources to purchase one," said Doug Holloway, Boise Parks and Recreation Director. "That’s why we believe this program is so important and we are grateful our generous partners agree."
Families in need of free life jackets can fill out a form with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department’s Fort Boise Community Center team located at 700 Robbins Road or they can call 208-608-7680 for assistance. The process will work much like the department’s youth scholarship program. Once need is determined, City of Boise residents under 18 years of age who qualify will receive a voucher to be fitted for a free life jacket at Idaho River Sports, a committed community partner in this effort.
The need for this program is evident. Just last year, 34 children had a water accident serious enough to end up at a St. Luke’s hospital, some of which were unfortunately drownings. All but three of those kids were under the age of nine.
"These are preventable injuries and deaths,” said Dr. Kathryn Beattie, the Executive Medical Director and Administrator of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. "It’s critical for children and parents to take water, and water sports, seriously. It’s also important for the community to recognize the risks that come along with the fun water-based recreation Idaho offers. We’re proud to see Boise team up to provide these life jackets that we know will help keep more of our kids safe."
In addition, Boise Parks and Recreation will continue to stock free life jackets at Quinn’s Pond and the ponds at Esther Simplot Park for anyone who needs one. We ask that users return the jackets to the stations after use, so others can take advantage of this important resource.